Formation and migration of hydrocarbons in deeply buried sediments of the Gulf of Cadiz convergent plate boundary - Insights from the hydrocarbon and helium isotope geochemistry of mud volcano fluids.

Nuzzo, Marianne, Tomonaga, Yama , Schmidt, Mark , Valadares, Vasco, Faber, Eckhard, Pinero, Elena, Reitz, Anja, Haeckel, Matthias , Tyroller, Lina, Godinho, Erica, Kipfer, Rolf, Terrinha, Pedro G. and Hensen, Christian (2019) Formation and migration of hydrocarbons in deeply buried sediments of the Gulf of Cadiz convergent plate boundary - Insights from the hydrocarbon and helium isotope geochemistry of mud volcano fluids. Marine Geology, 410 . pp. 56-69. DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2019.01.005.

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Abstract

Highlights:
• Clay dehydration water expelled from buried sediments drives mud volcanism.
• Rise of fluids mediated by crustal-scale strike-slip faults cross-cutting wedge.
• On active accretionary wedge, petroleum accumulations were dismantled in Neogene.
• 4He enrichment and δ13C-CH4 ~−50‰ in fluids reflect an open hydrocarbon system.
• Petroleum pools remain on shallow margin. Microbial gas vented out of active wedge.

Abstract:
A geochemical study of the composition of hydrocarbon gases and helium isotopes (3He/4He) in fluids from Mud Volcanoes (MVs) located on and out of the active accretionary wedge of the Gulf of Cadiz (GoC) provides information on fluid sources and migrations in deeply buried sediments. The GoC is a tectonically active segment of the Africa-Iberia plate boundary occluded beneath the thick sediments of an accretionary wedge dissected by crustal-scale strike-slip faults. Initially built during the Miocene Gibraltar Arc subduction, the wedge has since developed toward the W-NW in an oblique convergent setting. Interstitial water expelled from clays undergoing diagenesis in buried sediments drives mud volcanism on the wedge, with MVs located along strike-slip faults mediating fluid ascent. The large excess of radiogenic helium (4He) in all GoC fluids agrees with a clay mineral dehydration source of water. Hydrocarbon gases from all deepwater MVs bear methane having similar stable carbon isotope compositions of ~−50‰VPDB whether fluids are highly enriched in methane relative to heavier homologues (C2+) or not (Methane / (Ethane + Propane) ~10 to 10,000). We suggest that methane with −50‰VPDB was largely diffused out of early generating source rocks, and became dissolved in the water expelled by the buried sediments. Consistently, low 3He/4He ratios suggest an open hydrocarbon system: Petroleum accumulations and 3He dissolved in the original sedimentary pore water have mostly escaped into the water column during the major Late Neogene compressional events.

At present, some MVs vent CH4-rich fluids from dewatering sediments, while other structures located on active thrusts additionally vent C2+-rich gases generated by active Cretaceous source intervals. By contrast, evaporitic seals preserved petroleum accumulations on the shallow Moroccan Margin, while the westernmost MVs located out of the accretionary wedge vent microbial gas.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Hydrocarbon gases; Helium isotopes; Mud volcano; Gas hydrate; Seepage; Clay mineral dehydration
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.margeo.2019.01.005
ISSN: 0025-3227
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2019 08:14
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 13:41
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/45491

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